February 25, 2013
Central Region ID Consultative Committee Meeting: Updates
At the Immigration Division (ID) Consultative Committee meeting that took place on January 23rd, 2013, Neil Willard, under his new title of Assistant Deputy Chairperson, welcomed the participants. Key issues discussed were the statistical updates concerning the ID and detention reviews.
The total combining admissibility hearing and detention reviews in the last 12 month period has increased by 8% in the Central Region to 9,930 conclusions with a hearing.
The ID has a goal of 86% of admissibility hearings being concluded within 6 months of referral. This fiscal year, April – December 2012, in the Central Region, 93% achieved this target. In addition the ID also aims to meet statutory timeframes for detention reviews 96% of the time and thus far in the fiscal year, 98% have been maintained.
During the discussion of detention reviews, concerns were raised regarding awareness of a person’s counsel; whether or not the person in question has counsel , whether counsel will be attending a given review or not, whether an alternative will be proposed or not, or how long the review will take. In 2012 in the ID Central Region, 80% of 48 hour reviews had no counsel and 59% of the 30 day reviews had no counsel. With a high volume of cases, priority is given in the order that counsel checks in and cases are heard back to back, leaving some cases skipped over if all participants have not arrived.
Concerning legal aid, it was noted that it is rarely funded for detention reviews. Should one be funded, it could be seven days before it is processed.
Health care was also a matter for discussion when it came to detainees and whether or not they are still covered under the Interim Federal Health Program when released from detention. While health coverage does not impact the decision of release, it does factor in when creating an alternative to detention, such as involving access to addiction treatment services.
ID consultative meetings occur twice a year. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18th, 2013.